Vail Mountain to host World Championship races in 2015 |

Vail Mountain to host World Championship races in 2015

Scott N. Miller
Vail Daily
Special to the Daily/SportsfileA racer kicks out of the Vail starrt gate during the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships. The Vail Valley Foundation announced Wednesday that Vail will host the Nations Team race at Golden Peak during the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships. The announcement comes after months of talks that had left Vail's 2015 race role in question.

VAIL – The sun came out, really came out, the day Vail got word it would host some racing events during the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships. As far as Vail Valley Foundation President Ceil Folz is concerned, the two events were related.

“It’s just a great day,” Folz said.

Initial plans for the championships had all the racing at Beaver Creek, with Vail hosting just the opening ceremonies and nightly entertainment. Given Vail’s ski-racing history, that arrangement didn’t go over well with many residents, and the Vail Town Council initially balked at a funding request from the Vail Valley Foundation.

But word came Wednesday from the International Ski Federation (FIS) that Vail’s Golden Peak race course had been approved for the championships’ “Nations Team” event. Golden Peak will also host the men’s slalom and giant slalom qualifying races.

“Vail has a long and proud legacy in ski racing dating back to the first season of the FIS World Cup,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt, who is also a vice president of the FIS. “The Team Event has proven to be very popular with spectators and television, showcasing the stars of each nation in a head-to-head format.”

Folz said it’s exactly that side-by side, head-to-head format with both men and women competing that has helped the Nations Team races continue to grow in popularity.

“Ski racing’s exciting, but when you can measure the racers’ speed against each other, it’s even more exciting,” Folz said.

Better yet, people in the Golden Peak finish stadium will be able to see the entire course from the bottom of of the hill. Having both men and women racing at Vail again is another big deal. As men’s ski racing has changed, demanding ever-steeper courses, the men moved to Beaver Creek’s demanding Birds of Prey course.

Aspen has been the only American city to host annual women’s World Cup alpine ski racing for many years.

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